What Worship Leaders Need from their Pastor–Part 1
By Dwayne Moore
I have been leading worship and working as administrative pastor and other capacities in churches for many years. I’ve sung and spoken in over 1,000 churches and conferences. I’ve met many worship leaders and I’ve also spoken with many pastors over lunch in other places. And some things that I’ve noticed from both pastors and worship leaders that both need from each other, but today I want to deal in specifically with what worship leaders need from the pastors that they work with and work for.
There are three things that every worship leader needs from his or her pastor: inspection, involvement and investment. Today we will look at the first need:
Pastors, I don’t have to tell you that your worship leader is human. I’m sure you are reminded of that often as you work with him or her. And by the way, she or he is also reminded of that when they work with you. We are all human and we need to acknowledge that reality. And in being human, means that we are not perfect. That is why we need inspection.
It’s not that we mean to be negligent or to get distracted, but at times we do. And what we need is someone to come along and watch us and let us know that they are watching us, that they are paying attention–not only to what we do wrong but also to what we do right. So, this does not mean that you as pastor should act like a policeman, trying to catch your worship leader making a mistake. Instead, it means that you act as an encourager, to encourage them to be their best.
Recently while I was in Zambia, Africa, I was talking to a very sharp pastor. I was meeting with him and his worship leaders along with some other pastors who were in the room. This pastor was very sensitive and also direct. He said he noticed in a service during the past week that “all the lights were not turned on.” He mentioned this in front of his worship leaders. Yet, he was kind about it; he wasn’t mean-spirited. And yet, in making that simple statement, he was saying, “Hey, I’m paying attention; I am watching.”
That helped me understand why he was so successful as a pastor, because he had learned the importance of inspection. He didn’t shy away from letting his worship leaders know that he will point out things when they’re not right. But he also was quick to say that they did a good job and he pointed out things that they did well in that same service. That is what we mean by inspecting. Clearly communicating what you inspect helps to clarify what you see as important priorities.
Pastor, if you are in the habit of looking at your notes and basically being checked out during the music time, or even worse, if you wait until most of the music time is finished before you walk into the service, you are saying to your worship leader, “I am not interested. I am not watching. I am not paying attention.” That is when things can slide. That’s when quality can decrease. As lead pastor, you are the main worship leader in the room. You are the leader of the service. Therefore as pastor, you need to watch what’s going on and pay attention.
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And then, maybe on the next day or so, sit down with your worship leader and discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well. At the very least, try to do this on a monthly basis. However, the quicker you can get feedback, the better and the more effective it will be.
Try not to get pulled into giving feedback at the moment with an upset face during the service or right before the service begins, you’re already crawling on your worship leader about something that’s not right. Try to avoid that because that same person has got to up there and lead other people in musical worship. You don’t want them to be distracted or bummed out by your words.
Inspection is the first in our list of what worship leaders need from their pastor. But it’s far from the most important. In our next installment in this series we will consider something even more valuable than inspection, and that is involvement from the pastor.
We can’t wait for our upcoming webinar in April! The topic is missions and worship, and we hope you can be a part! Stay tuned for more info.